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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Deuteronomy 18:20 “But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized 27  him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 18:21 Now if you say to yourselves, 28  ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’ 29  – 18:22 whenever a prophet speaks in my 30  name and the prediction 31  is notfulfilled, 32  then I have 33  not spoken it; 34  the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”

(from net.bible.org)

Of course, this passage can also be misinterpreted and lead to religious wars.  However, I do wonder if we would get a few less doomsday predictions…

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Finally, someone from the Christian community has spoken up and pointed out that Charity and Social Justice are central and important basics of Christianity… that there is more to morality than abortion and gays…

More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House of Representatives will hurt the poor, elderly and vulnerable, and therefore he has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teaching.

“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter says. “From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”

via Catholic Professors Criticize Boehner in Letter – NYTimes.com.

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The whole post is a good read, but the following caught my eye:

A reflection: Is our national medical obsession with chest pain a manifestation of our national anxiety and fear of uncertainty? Of our national terror of death, or our collective unease even in the face of relative security and prosperity? Is it because we’ve subsituted faith for pharmaceuticals?

via edwinleap.com | Sunday morning in the ER.

My answer: yes.   More specifically, we have substituted Science as the religion, humanity as supreme, and have found both sorely lacking.

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Some of you may be familiar with Tim Keller, the head pastor at Redeemer Presbytarian Church here in New York.

Linked below is the transcript of a speech made by Tim Keller in an anniversary service to the families of victims of 9/11, made on September 10th, 2006.  The transcript is originally found on the blog of his son here.

For those of you who haven’t heard Tim Keller speak, I have to also recommend listening to his words shortly after the event, available at the Redeemer Sermon Store (I get no proceeds… )  You can download many free samples there as well.

As a minister, of course, I’ve spent countless hours with people who are struggling and wrestling with the biggest question – the WHY question in the face of relentless tragedies and injustices. And like all ministers or any spiritual guides of any sort, I scramble to try to say something to respond and I always come away feeling inadequate and that’s not going to be any different today. But we can’t shrink from the task of responding to that question. Because the very best way to honor the memories of the ones we’ve lost and love is to live confident, productive lives. And the only way to do that is to actually be able to face that question. We have to have the strength to face a world filled with constant devastation and loss. So where do we get that strength? How do we deal with that question? I would like to propose that, though we won’t get all of what we need, we may get some of what we need 3 ways: by recognizing the problem for what it is, and then by grasping both an empowering hint from the past and an empowering hope from the future.

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An excellent post from a fantastic blog, Get Rich Slowly:

Beggars are a moral quandary for me. I want to help. In an ideal world, I’d help them all. Or I’d at least help those who are legitimately in trouble. But how can I tell which beggars are truly needy, and which are just going to use the money for booze or pot? Does it matter? And who am I to judge?

It might seem silly to write about this — it’s such a trivial part of personal finance (if a part of it at all) — but I think it presents important moral implications. I know many people are opposed to giving money to beggars ever, and I cannot blame them. I’m always reminded of one of my favorite Bible passages, the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46), which reads in part:

For I hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

The comments I posted in that blog:

The Sheep and Goats parable is troubling. It is easily to justify not giving by making judgments like “they probably use it for drugs,” but I don’t think that is what God intended. The Bible doesn’t tell us to try to figure out the scammers, it just asks us to give what we can. There is an ultimate judge, and I try to trust that the scammers will get what they deserve, and those who are not scammer will find some measure of comfort.

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(Originally made aware of article through Catchen’s Xanga Site)

Another Day, another article.

This article from the New York Times describes a pastor at a evangelical megachurch who was able to stand up and say what a lot of non-conservative, non-Republican Christians have been struggling with: The way the right-wing political movement has claimed complete ownership of the Christian vote.

The problem has less to do with Republicans versus Democrats or Liberals versus Conservatives than with whether one can be a Christian who disagrees. The Republicans may support Christians a bit more, but it is a huge stretch to say that their entire platform is even remotely Christ inspired. In the same way, there are many aspects of the Democratic party platform which are probably better supported by the Bible.

The dialogue-destroying rhetoric in politics today is only further magnified in the Christian community, where debate often degenerates into accusations of not being Christian, or loyal, or faithful.

I found this particular point especially telling, and unfortunately, accurate:

Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

“Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”

The article is reproduced below:

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